Put together by Sydney based Aboriginal organisation YARN Australia, Blackfella-Whitefella, Any Fella saw a solid crowd gather to enjoy a lineup of deadly Aboriginal and non-Indigenous bands including reggae groovers Green Hand Band, gritty rockers the Black Turtles, the beautifully soulful Krista Pav and the Social Fabric, as well as folk stories by Buddy Roberts and the powerful earthy rhythms of Didgematix.
In the lead-up to the event organisers voiced a clear aim of bringing the community together, uniting Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and Non-Indigenous Australians through music; to break down the social and historical divide.
Event coordinator Timothy Pembroke said the team were happy with the result and the buzz leading in. “When we launched the first Blackfella-Whitefella, Any Fella event back in January it drew a lot of attention due to the unusual connection of Aboriginal stories and culture being shared at a pub named after James Cook,” he said.
“Captain Cook represents contrasting things depending who you ask. For our team, Blackfella-Whitefella, Any Fella is about acknowledging all facets of history – the good, the bad and the things we wish we could change.”
The night’s MC Graham Merritt, with YARN founder Warren Roberts, led conversation between bands – a move that connected the audience with the stories of the performers. “We all have a story to tell,” Roberts said.
“Each band and songwriter was asked to share stories prior to performing their set. It’s something we focus on at every YARN event because stories help us understand how things are today in 2016. It’s all about building understanding of the past and of each other,” he explained.
YARN Australia has been working to build connections and unity between Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and non-Indigenous Australians since 2007 and Roberts believes the work is just beginning. “YARN Australia’s events focus the conversation on how we can build relationships between people from different backgrounds. The way to do this is through story. In Australia we have 228 years of shared history to explore, not to mention 60,000 years of knowledge and tradition – we have the oldest living culture in earth.”